Defining the IL-7 niche for local and systemic ILC homeostasis
It is getting increasingly clear that cytokine production by non-hematopoietic stromal cells regulates immune cell development and function, e.g. in the BM and in lymph nodes (LNs). Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is a classical stromal cell-derived cytokine and is crucial for T and B cell development. Importantly, it is also essential for the development and function of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs). IL-7 is produced e.g. in the fetal and inflamed adult liver, the BM and intestine. However, the relative contribution of different IL-7 producing cell types/organs to the modulation of local and systemic ILC responses is unclear. In order to address this question, we will make use of tissue specific IL-7 knockout mice, to inactivate il7 gene activity in the liver, BM and intestine and study local and systemic ILC responses in the steady state and under inflammatory conditions. With the help of this approach we aim to define those cell types that define the IL-7 niche in vivo and regulate ILC homeostasis under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
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